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What are my Bankruptcy Rights?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Filing for bankruptcy is a means of having it legally deemed that you are unable to repay all of your debt. Although this process may involve you giving up certain things, it does not mean you are not entitled to a certain standard of treatment. Your bankruptcy rights include freedom from creditors’ collection efforts, equal opportunity for employment, and the ability to file for bankruptcy without legal representation.

The actions taken by creditors can be one of the factors that drive a person to file bankruptcy proceedings. Before filing your case, you may be bombarded with letters, phone calls, and attempts to repossess property. Once you file, however, doing so will protect you from all of these actions. Your creditors may no longer initiate any action that involves attempting to collect, repossess, or foreclose.

Your rights also entitle you to adhere to court orders without harassment. Once your case is finalized, creditors may not try to harass you regarding debt that has been discharged. In bankruptcy cases that involve restructuring debt through payment plans, creditors are not allowed to try to broker deals that involve them receiving payments under any terms not outlined by the court.

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If you are worried about how bankruptcy will affect your employment situation, be aware that your bankruptcy rights protect you from discrimination. Federal laws deem it illegal for employers to refuse to hire you because you have or are in the process of filing bankruptcy proceedings. Likewise, it is unlawful for your employer to discharge you or to otherwise punish you for these reasons.

Bankruptcy lawyers often have rates that people in debt find to be expensive. One of your bankruptcy rights allows you to file your case without legal representation. You can proceed through the entire procedure alone. You must understand, however, that the right to go through the proceedings alone does not necessarily make it a wise decision.

Bankruptcy should not haunt you forever. You have the right to have notations of bankruptcy erased from your credit files. The amount of time that must pass before agencies are required to remove this information varies.

Bankruptcy rights include the opportunity to file more than once. If you filed for bankruptcy in that past, that does not prevent you from doing so again. There may, however, be waiting periods, which will depend upon the type of bankruptcy you filed in the past.

Bankruptcy commonly involves a person losing certain items. One of your bankruptcy rights, however, is the entitlement to keep certain things. What you are permitted to keep will depend on where you live.

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Vincenzo
Post 2

@Terrificli -- that's a tough question to answer. Federal law does prohibit against denying someone employment simply because they filed for bankruptcy. But private employers may take that into account when someone files for a job and it might be hard to prove a bankruptcy was the deciding factor.

For example, there are some employers who ask for a credit report when someone applies for a job. If you have, say, 25 people who file for that job and one of them has gone bankrupt, it can be next to impossible for someone to prove they were discriminated against simply because of a bankruptcy. It could well be that another applicant was better qualified.

It's also important to remember

that private companies have a lot more leeway when it comes to employment criteria than government employers do. If someone is put into a position where they will have to handle money, is it not proper to question someone who has filed for bankruptcy and wants that particular job? Maybe and maybe not.
Terrificli
Post 1

It was a bit surprising to read that federal employment laws prohibit discrimination by employers or prospective employers against people who have filed or are filing for bankruptcy. It is somewhat common advice to warn people against filing for bankruptcy because that could affect their jobs or future employment.

Is that a misconception? If so, people need to know about that.

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